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Utah Jazz forward Stephen Howard, who was not offered a guaranteed contract, is leaving the Jazz to play in Italy.

Howard, 24, will join Pistoia of the A-1 Italian League."This was my best opportunity. It gives me a chance to play and improve," he said Thursday. "Hopefully the Jazz will have more interest in me next year, enough to guarantee me some money."

Howard's decision to leave came one day after second-year forward Bryon Russell signed a new contract, which includes two years and an option for a third.

Howard, from DePaul, made the Jazz as a free agent in 1992-93. He played in 49 games that season, but only nine last season and averaged 3.4 points.